Adam Hinterthuer: The Life of Steve Carpenter

UW-Madison Center for Limnology

It’s been nearly six months since Steve Carpenter officially stepped down as director of the UW–Madison Center for Limnology. Yet, despite updating his resume with the title “free-range scientist,” he is still trying to figure out how to not come in to the office. “One thing I’m working on is how to retire, which I have so far completely failed at,” says Carpenter, the Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Integrative Biology (formerly Zoology).

Case in point: He never did go bow hunting this season. Even though he bought his first bow and found enough time to practice to get comfortable from 50 yards, he didn’t put it to much use. “Some of it was rain, but why couldn’t I make more time? It wasn’t always rain,” he laments. The problem is there’s still so much science to do.

For example, Carpenter recently attended an event on the “roots of creativity and innovation in science” at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) campus in Irvine, California. It was an invitation-only affair for NAS members like him and a select group of actors, poets, writers and filmmakers.

As with so much else in life, Carpenter found this combination of art and science too exciting to refuse. He has a hard time saying “no” to new ideas and collaborations, which probably helps explain his impressive career.

A gifted scientist that has greatly increased our understanding of lakes.